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Bleach: The Death Save The Strawberry is a novel which was authored by Makoto Matsubara and illustrated by Tite Kubo.

Publisher's Summary


Chapter 1

Five months after the battle against Sōsuke Aizen, everything returns to normal, for exception of Ichigo Kurosaki who lost his Shinigami power. Ichigo and his friends finished their first year and now has entered their second year at Karakura High School.

Orihime Inoue frequently visits her brother's grave to tell her days with her friends to her brother. During the one month period when Ichigo was unconscious due to the side-effect of losing his power, she stayed at Soul Society to help in healing the injured Shinigami. Upon returning to the human world, Retsu Unohana gave her a Denreishiki, so she can still communicate with her Shinigami friends.

Meanwhile, Uryū Ishida became the student council president at their school and Yasutora Sado joined boxing club to polish his skill. Uryū also took over Ichigo's job to defeat Hollows in their town, but Uryū insists that this is only temporary, believing that Ichigo one day would regain his power. Ichigo also became more quiet, always staring at places where he usually saw Pluses but now can't see them anymore. Ichigo would always force a smile to show others that he is happy with the life he has now. Orihime was initially happy that Ichigo would be out of danger since he lost his power, but now is unsure after seeing Ichigo's change. She then received a message from Rukia and decides to go to Soul Society so she can share her problem with her Shinigami friend.

At Soul Society, Rukia Kuchiki is preparing for her inauguration ceremony as lieutenant of 13th Division. Rukia's servant, Chiyo, then ask if Rukia want to cut her hair. Rukia gave her consent before going to 13th Division barrack. However, Rukia didn't stay long because Jūshirō Ukitake gave her an early leave since she must prepare for tomorrow's ceremony. Rukia's early arrival surprised Chiyo, who hasn't call for the barber.

Once the barber came, Rukia requests for her hair to be cut shorter as she noticed that her usual hair made her resembles her older sister, Hisana Kuchiki. She doesn't want to be the shadow of her sister, so she doesn't see any point in keeping the same hairstyle as her sister, and because she has a bond with her brother, Byakuya Kuchiki, that is different from his bond with Hisana.

Chapter 2

Shinji Hirako, who was offered to be reinstated as Captain of 5th Division, greets his lieutenant, Momo Hinamori, who is still recuperating due to the injuries she suffered from the last fight against Aizen. He introduced himself and Momo recognizes Shinji after hearing the story from Nanao Ise about the Visored and how Shinji was the previous captain before Aizen. Shinji is surprised to hear that even now, Momo is still referring to Aizen as "Captain". This made Shinji angry even more at Aizen for manipulating Momo and several members of the 5th Division who are still clinging to his fake kindness. Shinji tries to liven up the conversation, but Momo is still depressed. Shinji finally tells her that he has made up his mind to accept the offer to become Captain of 5th Division, a news that Momo doesn't know how to react to.

A few days later, Rukia has officially became the lieutenant of the 13th Division. She invited Orihime to have a flower-viewing together at the training ground of 13th Division barrack where they used to train. Shinji then approaches the two, skipping his work after feeling Orihime's Reiatsu. Orihime asks Shinji if now she must call him differently since he is now a Captain, but Shinji assures her that she can just call him like she usually does. Shinji then receive a call from Momo, who is worried for his sudden leave. Shinji tells Momo that he'll be back, but in exchange, she must rest. Shinji tells Orihime that if she meets Momo, she must befriend her, to which Orihime agree.

Rukia is relieved to see the current relationship between Shinji and Momo as many people believed that Momo would never accept Shinji as a captain due to her previous relationship with Aizen. However, instead of leaving immediately, Shinji stays with Orihime and Rukia to chat a little bit more, telling the two girls everything that he has experienced from when he first met Momo until he decided to become captain again. He also explains how the rest of the Visored are doing. Hiyori Sarugaki refused to become a Shinigami again, though Shinji notes that if Kirio is still around, Hiyori most likely would have returned. Love Aikawa refused to return to Soul Society because that means he won't be able to read Jump magazines freely every week. Hachigen Ushōda must stay in the Human World to maintain the barrier and reconstruct Karakura Town that got damaged from the last battle. Lisa Yadōmaru and Mashiro returned to Soul Society, but is more often with Hiyori and the others in the Human World. Lisa also opened a bookstore near Kūkaku Shiba's home at Rukongai, selling adult books she brought from Human World that is popular among male Shinigami. She got enough money to build her own home that she named Shunga Temple (春画御殿, Shunga Goden).

Kensei is also reinstated as a Captain, replacing Kaname Tōsen. Kensei's reinstatement delighted Shūhei Hisagi, who has never been so happy ever since he became lieutenant. Mashiro actually wanted to become lieutenant, but since Shūhei already filled the position, she instead became a reporter at Seireitei Communication. Rose also became the captain of 3rd Division. Izuru Kira initially was unable to accept anyone else to become the captain replacing Gin Ichimaru, but gradually becoming closer to Rose. When the dried persimmons behind the 3rd Division barrack started to fruit, the whole division held a festival to commemorate Gin, and Izuru was happy that Rose also joined them.

After telling them everything, Shinji return to his division, leaving Orihime and Rukia alone. Orihime then admit to Rukia that she wants to help Ichigo but doesn't know what to do. As Orihime cries, Rukia comforts her, knowing how Ichigo always tried his best to protect them and understood how frustrated he is must be now that he lost his power that renders him unable to protect them. Rukia tried to stay strong despite her sadness and finally made up her mind to restore Ichigo's power by any means necessary.

Chapter 3

After Orihime returned home, instead of returning to Kuchiki Mansion, Rukia goes to Karakura Town. Arriving at the Human World, Rukia begin to remember the times she spent in the town while Ichigo still has his power. She then visit Kisuke Urahara's store and meet Hiyori who has an argument with Kisuke before leaving, but not before asking Rukia to kick Shinji on his head for her. Kisuke welcomes Rukia, explaining that Hiyori just declined his request to work in his store. After the war against Aizen, Kisuke's name became known throughout Soul Society. He was given official permission to sell his items, resulting in many Shinigami coming to the Human World to buy items from his store. Not only that, the Captain Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto also arranged for Central 46 to pardon him, Yoruichi Shihōin, and Tessai. Since Tessai, Ururu, and Jinta are now busy with their own activities, Kisuke has his hands full and need more workers to help in his store.

Rukia then explains her reason for visiting him. Kisuke reveals that he is already searching for a way to return Ichigo's power ever since Ichigo lost it. Kisuke admits he feels responsible for forcing Ichigo to use Mugetsu because he created the Hogyōku, so he wishes to repay his debt by restoring Ichigo's power. Kisuke asks for more time until he is finished with his research and then he'll inform Rukia, which assured her.

Chapter 4

A year after Rukia met Kisuke, Rukia received a message from Kisuke to meet him at his store. Rukia immediately went to the Human World after finishing her job. At Kisuke's store, Tessai escort her to Kisuke's laboratory, where Kisuke has been waiting her and presented her a sword that can transfer their Reiatsu to Ichigo. While it's similar to a Zanpakutō, it's different but still used a Zanpakutō as its base, using Isshin Kurosaki's Engetsu. While Kisuke already finished the sword since a week ago and only need Isshin's Engetsu for the transferring process, Isshin asked for more time to think because he wasn't sure of sending Ichigo back to battlefield. However, after seeing how depressed Ichigo was for his inability to help Uryuu who was attacked, Isshin decided to help Kisuke as he understood Ichigo's feeling of helplessness for unable to protect the ones they love like he did with his wife, Masaki Kurosaki.

Kisuke explains that while the sword is completed, it's still too weak and if they want to restore Ichigo's power to the same state as it was before, they need a huge amount of Reiatsu. For this purpose, Kisuke asks Rukia to have her and everyone else to insert their Reiatsu into the sword. He and everyone in the living world already gave their Reiatsu, all that left is Rukia and the others in Soul Society. Rukia is ready to insert her own Reiatsu, but Kisuke suggests that she insert hers for the last because the gathered Reiatsu would be difficult to mix, but if Rukia insert her Reiatsu at the last, then the other Reiatsu would be covered by hers. Since Ichigo's body is already familiar with her Reiatsu, then Ichigo's body would recognize the Reiatsu, including the ones that are mixed, as her Reiatsu.

Accepting the job, Rukia decides to go to Kūkaku Shiba's house with the sword and uses Denreishiki to contact everyone else so that the Department of Research and Development won't catch her act, remembering that it's still a crime for a Shinigami to give their Reiatsu to a human. Rukia make haste to Soul Society, happy that Ichigo soon would regain his power.

Chapter 5

The next Day, at the 13th Division barrack, Rukia asks for Kiyone and Sentarō's help to insert their Reiatsu into the sword to restore Ichigo's power. Kiyone Kotetsu and Sentaro agrees without hesitation, something that Rukia is grateful of. She then proceeds to send messages to people in her contact list. Kiyone also helps by sending one to her sister, Isane Kotetsu.

At 4th Division barrack, Isane is conflicted between wanting to help or upholding the law. She eventually decides to stop her sister since it's against the law, but Retsu Unohana then came in while pretending not hearing what she just said and instead indirectly encouraged her to help Rukia by spreading the message to the others. Hanatarō Yamada soon received the message and immediately leave for Kūkaku's house.

At 6th Division barrack, Renji Abarai received Rukia's message and show it to Rikichi Yuki. Rikichi also willing to help restoring Ichigo's power and send the message to his friends. Renji is hesitant to drag Rikichi into going against the law, but Rikichi states that this is his way of thanking Ichigo for his good deeds and is confident that there are other Shinigami who thinks the same way. Even if their Reiatsu are not as big as captains, lieutenants, or seated officers, if they gathered all small Reiatsu into one, it'll become big. Rikichi then go to inform his friends. Renji is about to send the message to Momo and Izuru, but is then shocked to realize that Byakuya is standing right behind him. Knowing he can't hide it from Byakuya, Renji shows him Rukia's message. Instead of being angry, Byakuya gives Renji his approval by asking back if Renji really needs to ask his permission. Grateful, Renji heads out to Kūkaku's house.

At 10th Division office, Rangiku Matsumoto received Rukia's message and shows it to Tōshirō Hitsugaya. Reading the message, Rangiku resend it to Ikkaku Madarame, Yumichika Ayasegawa, Nanao Ise, and Shunsui Kyōraku. She then asks Tōshirō if he's going to give his Reiatsu, but Tōshirō merely replies that she already knows the answer.

At 11th Division barrack, Yachiru Kusajishi and Kenpachi Zaraki are approached by Ikkaku and Yumichika who shows them Rukia's message. Expecting Rukia has already sent the message to the other Shinigami whom she had worked with, Ikkaku and Yumichika plans to resend the message to Tetsuzaemon Iba. Excited at the prospect of Ichigo getting stronger and wishing to fight him again, Kenpachi orders the entire 11th Division members to give their Reiatsu without exception.

At 5th Division barrack, Momo received Renji's message. Coincidentally, Lisa and Shinji are with her. Reading the message, Shinji tells Momo to send the message to him so he can resend it to Rose and Kensei. Expecting many Shinigami to gather, Lisa intends to go to Kūkaku's house to ask her permission to putting up a poster for her book store. Shinji is about to tell Momo that she doesn't need to go since it means going against the law, but Momo interjects that she will go, surprising Shinji he always knew her as someone who will stick to the rules. Momo reveals that she remembers Aizen's words that tell her while rules are important, if they break something for what they believe, then there's something wrong with the rules. And if they just stay silent, then they are in the wrong. Hearing this, Shinji is confident that Momo has grown and become stronger than before when she was still depressed to hear Aizen's name.

At 3rd Division barrack, Izuru shows Rukia's message to Rose, who immediately after received the same message from Shinji. Learning that Shinji also sent the message to Mashiro and Kensei while Renji already sent to Momo, Rose asks Izuru who he will send the message to. Izuru intends to send one to Shuuhei, knowing that the lieutenant must be the only left not yet receiving the message because Renji, Rangiku, Ikkaku, and Yumichika all thought the others already sent one to Shūhei, leaving him alone the only one not yet receiving the message. Rose then ask if Izuru will go as well, to which Izuru confirms as he wants to ease their mistake for forcing Ichigo to lose his power and Ichigo is the last person to see Gin alive. It's revealed that Rangiku made a grave for Gin at 32nd District of East Rukongai. She and Izuru often visits his grave with Rangiku once told him how Gin is able to die in peace knowing Rangiku and Izuru are alive. This convinced Izuru that Gin's spirit will always be with them.

At 8th Division barrack, Shunsui ask Nanao if she has received Rukia's message. Nanao confirms that she received it from Yachiru. Shunsui then send the same message to Jūshirō. Nanao reminds Shunsui that it breaks the law, but Shunsui emphasizes that he's just sending the message, whether people want to give their powers or not is up to them. Shunsui intends to go and ask what will Nanao do. Nanao thinks that the peace they have is all thanks to Ichigo and she has yet to thank him. Even though the war is over, she believes that it'll be pointless if she doesn't thank him. Nanao is prepared that she'll lose her position as lieutenant, but Shunsui assures her that he'll make sure that won't happen.

At Shiba residence, Yoruichi tells Suì-Fēng to return to her division because her position as leader of the Onmitsukidō won't forgive her if she break the law. However, Suì-Fēng insists that she'll stay because she can't let Yoruichi together with Kisuke. Reading the message from Suì-Fēng's phone that she received from Yachiru, Yoruichi realizes that Yachiru must have also sent one to Nemu Kurotsuchi, which means Mayuri Kurotsuchi will most likely read the message too.

At 12th Division barrack, Nemu received the message from Yachiru while she's changing. Annoyed by the vibration from her phone, Mayuri snatches her phone and read its content. Excited at the prospect of Kisuke and the other Shinigami being punished for breaking the law, Mayuri intends to report it to Yamamoto.

In front of the 1st Division barrack, Jūshirō encounters Mayuri and Sajin Komamura and Iba, all of them showing the message from Rukia. Realizing they came for the same problem, Jūshirō asks them to leave the rest to him since Rukia is his lieutenant. Mayuri refuses, questioning if Jūshirō intends to defend her even though she's breaking the law. Jūshirō is fully aware that what Rukia is doing is breaking the law, but he believes that she's not wrong, so he'll do his duty as a captain now.

Hearing the ruckus, Yamamoto comes out and ask their presence in front of his barrack. Before Jūshirō could explain, he received a report about the previous Substitute Shinigami, Kūgo Ginjō. Mayuri also received the same report. Due to the sudden urgency, the two captains excused themselves, leaving Sajin to explain everything to Yamamoto.

Chapter 6

Near evening, Shiba residence is crowded with Shinigami who all are queuing to give their Reiatsu into the sword. They are interrupted when a Jigokuchō came, meaning that Yamamoto already being informed of what they're going to do. From the butterfly, he orders all captains and lieutenants as well as Kisuke with the sword to gather at the 1st Division meeting hall. Since Kisuke is ordered to bring the sword, Yoruichi thinks that Yamamoto most likely will give his approval and won't punish any of them.

Chapter 7

At the meeting hall, Yamamoto and Tōshirō announces that they have received report that Ichigo has made contact with Kūgo. Because Ichigo has made contact with Kūgo, Yamamoto orders Kisuke to bring the sword to them. This surprised Unohana, to which Yamamoto replies that they all have been saved by Ichigo, so now it's their turn to save him even if it's going against the law. Yamamoto orders all captains and lieutenants to give their Reiatsu into the sword. He declares that for this once, he won't punish all the Shinigami who have inserted their Reiatsu into the sword. Everyone except Mayuri are relieved to hear the order as Yamamoto tells Kisuke that he must help Ichigo restore his Shinigami power, an order that Kisuke wholeheartedly accepted.

Soon after, at the Human World, Rukia stabs Ichigo with the sword, restoring his Shinigami power.